Energy and carbon advisory firm RepuTex has predicted that gas-fired generation in Australia will almost disappear if the carbon price is removed, as promised by the Opposition, and will be replaced by higher emitting coal-fired generation. Reputex said up to 60 per cent of the gas-fired market will disappear in such a scenario, and with rising gas prices, reducing its share of the total National Electricity Market output from 13 per cent to 3 per cent by 2020. It will be replaced by coal-fired generation and some wind generation.
“Where gas was previously seen as the likely transition fuel in the move away from coal-fired generation, the opening up of the east coast of Australia to LNG export projects is expected to push up domestic gas prices, to reflect the higher price of gas in Asia,” said RepuTex associate director of research Bret Harper. “Our modelling suggests that this price impact on gas, combined with the removal of any support from a carbon price, will help preserve coal’s superior cost advantage.” He said brown coal generators would be the big winners from the removal of the carbon price, which he said would result in electricity emissions rising by 2020 rather than falling.
In other news…
US President Barack Obama has announced three cabinet-level nominations this week, including scientist Ernest Moniz as head of the Energy Department, and Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, where she’s been an assistant administrator. The appointment of McCarthy bodes well for US climate policy – Christian Science Monitor reports she is known as a key architect of tough new limits on emissions from power plants. But Moniz is less promising, with a history as a supporter of nuclear power and of the globalization of natural gas trade through liquid natural gas (LNG) exports.
Chinese solar maker Yingli Green Energy Holding reported a fourth quarter loss of more than double expectations, despite the company’s shipments last year surging 43 per cent from 2011 to 2.3GW. Bloomberg reports that this puts Yingli on track to become the world’s biggest solar manufacturer. Yingli expects to ship between 3.2 gigawatts and 3.3 gigawatts of solar panels this year.
CO2 Australia, a division of the ASX-listed offsets business CO2 Group, announced on Tuesday it has reached agreement and settlement with the Queensland state government to buy its 100 per cent share of independently operated Ecofund. Queensland’s Minster for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, said Ecofund was a well-established company providing specific carbon trading services that were best provided by the private sector.